Friday, June 12, 2015

Defeating Temptation

Greetings to one and to all. I pray that this message finds you well in all aspects of life. I am stirred from within to reach out to you regarding the subject of temptation.

In life we will all undoubtedly be faced with temptations. These temptations have the power to draw us away, create strongholds, and hinder our relationship with God. There is certainly a dark side to temptation. However, there is an alternative side to temptation that is quite beautiful. We don't have to spend our lives wresting with temptations and desires. There is hope as provided to us in the promises of God in His holy word.

Temptation comes in many ways, shapes, and forms. Lets talk about the origin of temptation. In order to defeat temptation we should have an in depth understanding of where it comes from and why. The bible tells us that temptation is a result of lustful desires already in our hearts. When I say lustful I don't necessarily mean sexual. I want to clarify this because most often lust is associated with sex. I dare say that a person can lust for anything; sex, food, money, fame, thrills, fortune, blood and any number of things.

1 Timothy 6:9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.

We are led away by our own desires. In other words we allow our own thoughts to take us captive, to the point where we eventually act on our thoughts. Thoughts can indeed be sinful. Still, once those thoughts become actions it is too late to turn back. 

James 1:14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desired and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

This is why the word of God tells us to take captive every thought. I know it sounds very complicated to be able to do such a thing. In fact it is easier said than done. There is a specific reason why though.

Unless you have renewed your mind in Christ Jesus, your thoughts, desires, and needs will not have changed. In plainer terms it means that you are still conformed to the ways of the world. The washing and renewing of your mind in Christ will allow you to take captive every thought. Isn't that awesome! For once you will actually be in control of your strongest desires. Surely we are familiar with examples of someone hearing that little voice on one shoulder saying, "Go for it," while that little voice on the other shoulder is saying "Don't Do it!" This is a classic example of being tempted. Notice how the voice was internal and not external? The temptation has everything to do with what is already in our hearts.

Ephesians 4:22-24 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

1 John 2:15
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.

Being able to take captive your thoughts will allow you to be able to resist that voice which is trying to lead you astray. When we follow through with temptation it is because we lost the battle waging within our minds. We failed to heed that voice that said to resist. For Christian people that voice is none other than the Holy Spirit. All Christians are able to hear the Holy Spirit. Depending on where they are in their walk they may not recognize the Holy Spirit speaking to them. Those of us who have not renewed our minds may recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit and still not listen. 

1 Peter 1:14 As obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance.

I don't want you confused. The Holy Spirit will NEVER lead you astray, command you to commit sinful or evil acts, or tempt you! That is how you distinguish what voice is speaking to you. The bible clearly explains that God does not tempt anyone. 

James 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.

A Christian person can struggle with temptation just as anyone else can. 

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

The difference is that Christians, through the blood of Christ, have the ability to overcome the bondage of sin and temptation. At times we willfully chose to remain in bondage. People have various reasons for the actions they chose. However, there is no temptation that cannot be overcome. Thank God we have the victory! We don't have to be ruled by sin. We can "break every chain."

Matthew 26:41
"Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

One of the biggest ways that we can overcome temptation is to not give place to the devil. Of course the devil and his demon minions are aware of our strengths, weaknesses, and secrets. You know the things that you are too ashamed to speak to anyone about? Maybe you don't have any secrets or shame, but I suspect that the opposite is true. We are all human and wouldn't need a savior if we were without flaw and capable of saving ourselves. My point is that since the enemy knows your weaknesses you should not open the door as an invitation. 

Proverbs 1:10-15
My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent. If they say, "Come with us, Let us lie in wait to shed blood; Let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause; Let us swallow them alive like Sheol, and whole, as those who go down to the Pit; we shall find all kinds of precious possessions, we shall fill our houses with spoil; cast in your lot among us, let us all have one purse" my son, do not walk in the way with them, keep your foot from their path; for their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood. 

For example, if you know that you are struggling with having sexual relations outside of marriage (fornication or adultery), you should avoid placing yourself into situations where you would be tempted to have sex. Don't go to places alone with that person of the opposite sex, especially if you know there is a strong attraction. Don't sleep at their home because the door will open for temptation, which will be followed by the sinful act. Going to the strip club would definitely be a no no. If you are trying to stay clean from drugs or alcohol, it wouldn't be a good idea to go to a bar to hangout, even if your intention is to be social and not participate in any of the drinking. It is probably not the best idea to go to a party where liquor will be served, or associate with your friends during the time they plan to smoke or get high. 

Being around during those tempting times will make it all the more easy to give in. There may also be pressure from others in the room with you to engage in something bad. The same principles can be applied to nearly any scenario from stealing, to overindulging in food (gluttony), to revenge and many more. Once you have given in to the temptation it will be so difficult to resist the next time around. The desire will ultimately grow stronger until a stronghold is developed. A great example of this is pornography. After giving in it will be much more difficult to get back to a place of sanctity and wholeness. Scriptures let us know about how demons look for a place to rest. When they find a "clean home" they return with more demons and wreak havoc.

Matthew 12:43-45 "When an unclean spirit goes out of a man he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.' And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it be with this wicked generation."

 This is why it is best to not allow a stronghold to develop. Temptation will often lead to a temporary gain that leaves you empty and wanting more. So the cycle repeats. For this reason it is best to set our hearts on God. We should focus on the things of heaven above, not earthly pleasures which will all fade away.

When we are fighting with serious sin issues, it probably began with temptation. We don't just wake up addicted suddenly. It has a start, progression, and definite end. The result will either build us stronger or destroy us based on our actions. Jesus was tempted by Satan but resisted. He stood strong and used the holy word of God to do battle. 

Hebrews 4:15-16 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with out weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

James 4:7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

Satan loves when we give in to temptation because he knows that it places a wedge between us and God. It damages our relationship with our creator. It not only breaks the heart of God, but it ultimately hurts us the most in the long run. It is very selfish because we are saying that what we desire or want is more important than our relationship with Jesus. God is a forgiving and merciful God. Yes the bible tells us that He is long-suffering, but when we are seasoned in Christ, no longer babes, we should not be fighting with these issues. If you come to a place in life where temptation has taken over, fear not. 

The first step to redemption always begins with acknowledgment our sins. Ignoring or pretending that we don't have a problem (addiction, dark secret, sin issue) will keep us in bondage and defeat. Once we have confessed our sins we can approach God for forgiveness. He is just to forgive. I would dare say that we should be sincere in our plea. This doesn't mean we won't mess up again or become perfect afterwards. It does mean that we are serious about not hurting God and doing our very best to change. Through prayer, fasting, renewing of our minds through the word of God, open discussions and communication, we are more than able to overcome. We are more than conquerors! 

2 Corinthians 12:9 And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness."

Romans 8:37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

1 John 4:4
You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.

Never fear that you are stuck or hopeless. Temptation is a serious matter with serious consequences should we give in, but God always provides a way out. Trust in Him with all your heart. Give it all you've got. When you fall down, get back up and keep running the race. Don't stay down. You can do it because God has given you the victory through his son Jesus Christ. It won't be easy. It will take a lot of discipline, but the sacrifice is worth it.I can tell you this for certain; we shall be rewarded for resisting temptations. 

James 1:12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

This is a promise of God and He cannot lie! I know this is one of my longer posts, but I care greatly for you and wanted to express what God has me to share with you. I pray that this letter has opened your eyes to temptation and empowered you with a new perspective to an age old issue. As always, Truth is Freedom, Knowledge is Power!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

True Worship

Greetings to one and to all. I pray that all is well with you. It has been quite some time since my last post. I recently explained to a good friend that I only post as the Lord directs me to, so there may be periods of time between posts. There are literally thousands of topics that I could post about, but I don't simply write for the sake of writing. I write as God's servant, reaching out to others in a world overflowing with Godlessness. 

I pray that each person who reads these messages of truth and hope are inspired to live better lives, impact the communities around them for the better, and grow closer to the Lord. Today I want to speak to you regarding worship, what it means, and the significant role it plays in our relationship with God.


There are key things that every believer/follower needs to know about worship. First I would start with this; We must worship our savior in spirit and truth.

John 4:24  "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

Surely you are wondering what this means just as I did when I first read this passage. Allow me to explain. In order to worship God in both spirit and truth we must free ourselves from the attachments of carnality and worldliness. Worship has to be done with our entire being. It has can only be accomplished with the whole heart, as anything less would be unacceptable to a holy God.

Worship is not about what type of garment is worn during that time, how loud the "praise" music is playing, the size or location of the place of worship, the people around you, or even the number of church services you attended recently.
True worship is about the condition of one's heart towards the living God.

1st John 4:7 -8 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
Deuteronomy 6:5 "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength."

That one verse could sum up the meaning of true worship, however, I will elaborate. Many of us believe that worship is captured in the singing of a song. This is how a lot of Christians were raised and taught in the modern generations. This is not wrong. It is just incomplete. Singing and dancing are certainly valid forms of worship to the Lord. They are alone insufficient. I declare to you today  that worship is a lifestyle. I even dare to say that living a clean life fully submitted to God is an act of worship far more acceptable than song or hymn. This is the highest form of praise.

1st John 5:2-3 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.

If we are not fully surrendered to the savior in all areas of life, how can we offer Him a worship untainted? True worship is about surrender and sacrifice. Yes the Lord knows all hidden things but He still wants us to come to Him in open acknowledgement of our faults. In this way true forgiveness will follow along with sincere worship.

Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

The Bible tells us that God is seeking true worshipers. He is not looking for people who honor Him only with their lips. He is searching for those who honor Him with their hearts. We all know that words have power, but without action to follow they may as well be meaningless. In other words we cannot trick or fool God.

John 4:23 "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him."

Worship in spirit and truth draws us near to God in a way that can only be accomplished in such a manner. No other kind of worship will allow us to be near the heart of God. If you really want to worship the Lord and please Him, honor him with the way you live your life. Live a life of obedience and servitude to the holy God. Then, when we do sing our songs of praise it will mean that much more! Do you agree? Anyone can attend a worship service at church and sing a few songs, yet live a lifestyle totally absent of God. 

God deserves our highest praise. We are created for Him and by Him. 

Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

He is truly a mighty creator too brilliant for words. In all my vocabulary I could never sum up the awesomeness of the living God. The words simply don't exist. God deserves our worship simply because of who He is. 

Psalm 135:5 For I know that the Lord is great, and our Lord is above all gods.

Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.
Also, when we look at the things He has done for us it compels us to worship. God sent his only begotten Son to pay the ultimate penalty for our sins, redeem mankind from the curse of the law (eternal damnation), and restore covenant relationship (between God and man) which was broken when sin entered the world through Adam. 

John 3:16-17 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."

For that alone God is worthy of all praise forever!

Psalm 113
Praise the LORD! Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD! Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and forevermore!
 From the rising of the sun to its going down the LORD's name is to be praised. The LORD is high above all nations, His glory above the heavens. Who is like the LORD our God, who dwells on high, who humbles Himself to behold the things that are in the heavens and in the earth? He raises the poor out of the dust, and lifts the needy out of the ash heap, that He may seat him with princes-with the princes of His people. He grants the barren woman a home, like a joyful mother of children. Praise the Lord!

Friends, I do my best each day to live a lifestyle of worship. I want to live in such a way that honors God every day during my time on this earth. That is the highest form of praise. I am a new creature in Christ. Anyone who is born again is a new creation in Jesus Christ! You have the power to worship in spirit and truth, because sin can no longer hold you in bondage if you are born again. Inevitably we will all fall short of the mark. However, when we do we need to repent and keep moving forward so that we can get back to worshiping our Lord. Don't let sin issues keep you from being able to worship your God, because cleansing and forgiveness have been made available to all through the blood of Christ. As always, Truth is freedom, Knowledge is Power! God Bless!


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Forgotten

The Forgotten

Greetings to one and all. I hope that this letter finds you in good health, with your spirits lifted high in all aspects of life. During this special season we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Matthew 2:11 - And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

Matthew 1:18-25- Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 

Luke 2:7 - And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

 What greater cause is there to celebrate? Jesus is the reason! Of course, we take this time to express to our loved ones how much they mean to us through the giving of gifts and gathering together. Often these gatherings are held at the homes of loved ones or friends over a hot meal and drinks.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him wouldn't perish, but would have eternal life.

It is during this most coveted time of the year when many are  alone and depressed. The correct term for it is called social isolation. It is prevalent during the holidays. As we prepare to gather together with our loved ones and friends it is easy to forget that so many have no one to celebrate with, and no where to go. Many families have to celebrate without their loved ones whom are overseas in the military. For the people who spend a good
portion of the year alone already, the feeling of sorrow must be overwhelming as everyone else spends time with their loved ones.

Psalm 142:4  I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul.

Friends, I encourage you to think about who you can give to beyond your usual sphere of influence. Sadly, unless those like you and I consider the less fortunate, they may end up with nothing at all this Christmas season. Think of those who would be tremendously blessed by your giving. A lot of families simply don't have the money to purchase gifts for their loved ones. If it were not for charities like toys for tots or Salvation Army, some children would not receive gifts. I thank God for those willing to donate, for the workers willing to help gather and present those donations. 

Remember that a gift to someone is about the heart and not necessarily the material value or size of the present. There are many ways to give beyond money or financial donations. A simple hot meal could make a world of difference in a person's life. To have one less meal to worry about when finding food is a big struggle will certainly provide joy during this season. Acts of kindness are not defined by the rules society has established
but rather by the size of one's heart. 

Acts 20:35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Also, while I do not condemn those who endure with the tradition of "Santa clause," it is important that we remember to give thanks to the true giver of all good gifts, our Lord. While the idea of a round, jolly man with a white beard and red suit sliding the down the chimney to drop off piles of gifts may seem cute and alluring, it is a big detractor from Christ who is the real reason for our celebratory exchanges. By simply rearranging the letters it is easy to spell Satan. Once again I don't condemn those who want to have fun with the idea of Santa, but it should never take precedent in our lives.

James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

God loves us and blesses us with gifts each day. He doesn't deserve to have his praise and admiration passed along to some imaginary figure who doesn't give ANY gifts at all. I thank God for all that he has done to protect and provide for me, my loved ones throughout this year. It truly is a blessing to be here. I don't have a long list of things I want this year. In fact, if I received nothing extra at all I will be just as joyous. I have my loved ones, my health and strength, a job, and a roof over my head. I am not out in the cold or begging for a bite to eat. 

What more do I really need? Anything beyond these things are indeed a gift from the Lord. He has been good to me. I pray that He will use me to be a blessing for someone else who doesn't have as much as I do. Will you allow the Lord to use you to bless someone else? You will only receive honor and favor from the Lord by allowing Him to use you. Remember that it is better to give than to receive. Think of the warmth you will feel knowing that despite your other obligations and responsibilities that you sacrificed to help someone in need.

Proverbs 3:27  Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.

Proverbs 28:27  He who gives to the poor will never want, but he who shuts his eyes will have many curses.

James 2:15-16  If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?

I want to thank each of you who reads this blog and receives the messages in your hearts. God is with you no matter where you are. I pray that each of you has a blessed and wonderful Christmas this year. Remember to celebrate the true reason for the season; Jesus.  Lets close out this year on a good note so that we can enter 2015 refreshed for the journey ahead! As always, Truth is Freedom, Knowledge is Power!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Faith vs Fear


What exactly is faith? 
According to Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 
Faith is not about what you see, but rather what is unseen. Oh, how easy it is for the natural eyes to be fooled. From a distance anything may appear one way while up-close entirely different.
Have you ever heard the expression, "everything that glitters isn't gold?" This is a perfect example of hour our eye sight can lead us wrong. We see something sparkling in the distance being hit by the rays of the sun, making it appear as a bright diamond or precious stone. Then, as soon as we get close we discover it was nothing more than a shard of glass or a worthless piece of metal. 

Magicians use optical illusions to fool audiences right before their very eyes. It doesn't just happen to those at a distance in the crowd but even those willing participants who are up close to the magician. So in that case it doesn't make much sense to rely solely on what we see, does it?

Faith is the total opposite. Instead of being in control it is about the ability to let go and not be in control. Faith is not about trusting in our own ability. Faith is about relying entirely, %100 on the Lord. What would be the purpose of faith if the things we hoped for could be grasped so easily? 

I challenge you to "Go Blind One Day!" Faith is about lack of eye sight; total blindness. Needless to say, if you can see the outcome then you are probably not walking by faith. If you have it all figured out there isn't much faith involved. Trusting in Jesus and leaning on Him is the best way to exercise or practice faith. I will push the envelope a bit further and say that faith is a way of life, not just an idea. Live out your faith, not your religion. Let go of every hindrance, especially fear. 

There is a strong contrast and dynamic between faith and fear. Let's take a look at a powerful example of how faith can conquer fear when allowed. Remember the story of Peter and his brave steps out of the boat and into the water as he approached Jesus? That is what I can ultimate faith!

 Matthew 14:22-33

 Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. 23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. 24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea,[a] tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.
25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.
27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”
28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”
29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous,[b] he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”
31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.
33 Then those who were in the boat came and[c] worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”

Let us digest this for a moment. I know you are thinking that he failed because he ultimately sank. Yes, it is true that Peter lost faith towards the end of his approach. However, the most important part of this passage is the fact that Peter was willing to take a "leap" of faith and step out of the boat. The majority of us will always remain in the safety of the boat, unwilling and afraid to step out of the boat. Peter's faith was tremendous. In fact I view his brief walk on the water as an incredible success, not a failure. 

We can examine several key components of this event to highlight the incredible faith that was involved in these few short moments. It was night time in the middle of the sea (likely very deep water), with high waves generated from excessive winds! On top of that Jesus appeared as if He were a ghost! Can you imagine being in the middle of the ocean at night as ghostly figure approaches your vessel, and then that figure telling you to come out of the safety of your boat? It is utterly unimaginable. Even the roughest, toughest of people would likely tremble with total fear and helplessness.

Still, Peter allowed his faith to conquer his fear. He approached his Lord because he believed. He believed! Jesus had appeared as a ghost, yet Peter believed in his heart that it really was Jesus. Faith is greater than fear because faith conquers fear!

Just as we see in the passage from Matthew 14 faith is indeed greater than fear. God's word tells us that faith requires action and that without it we are not able to please Him.

Hebrews 11:6  But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (KJV)

James 2:17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (NIV)

Our world is broken to say the least. Each day we face unprecedented challenges which range from physical dangers, attacks on our health and wellness, financial obstacles, cultural stigmas, stereotypes, oppression from wicked rulers, pressures from society and so much more. Our faith is what allows us to rise above these disasters that surround us at all times. Faith separates us from the world and allows us to do the impossible!

Luke 17:6  He replied, "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you. (NIV)

Matthew 17:20 He replied, "Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (NIV)

 With faith there is nothing out of our reach because once again we are placing our trust in the Living God, not our own abilities. There is nothing too difficult for God! As we place our faith on the line and depend on God to see us through we are guaranteed to win! He can't lose!  

Matthew 19:26  Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (NIV)

Take the leap of faith today and remember to speak life daily! The word of God is our weapon and guide. What you say has a great deal to with the actual outcome. In the book of Genesis the Lord spoke things into existence. He used His voice; the power of spoken word. 

Genesis 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. (NIV)

The spirit world, which is far more vast than the visible world, is always paying attention. Whether we speak good things or bad things it is taken into account and an outcome occurs. Speak life and exercise your faith. Watch as your life changes in unexpected and incredible ways! You may appear to be foolish in the eyes of the world for exercising your faith but don't worry about what they think. Faith is greater than fear.

As Always, Truth is Freedom, Knowledge is Power!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

 The Signs 

It is with great certainty that I say the end is near. We are indeed living in the final days of human history. It is an amazing time to be alive, an exciting time. Never before has man witnessed the awe-inspiring events happening in the modern world. Yet, there is a much to be desired. Available to us is all the technology, entertainment, pleasures and material things that one could wish for. Even with that being the case, why does there seem to be a general air of discontent, strife, or unhappiness? It is because much darkness abounds in these last days.

Jesus was very precise when speaking of the signs that would signal His return. We not only have the words of Jesus, but many signs to validate what is true. After all anyone can say anything right? Without evidence few are sure to believe. What's worse is that some wouldn't believe even if the evidence fell into their laps. The time for procrastination is over. Things are so serious at this point that Jesus' return is immanent. We not only need to ready ourselves but also spread the truth to others before it is too late. It is time right now. Let's take a look at some solid proof that we are in the last days and on the cusp of Christ's return.

Matthew 24:6-7 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.

That one scripture is packed with a ton of verifiable events happening right now in our world. I will present some basic facts for you representing current world events. You can do more in depth research if you chose. The information is all readily available from a wide range of sources.

Nation Against Nation
Since the bloody Egyptian revolution began in 2011 between 3,000-8,000 have died. This figure continues to climb. The exact figure of prisoners/detainees in not known.
Since the bloody civil war in Syria began in early 2011 the death toll is between 115,000-125,000. The toll continues to rise.
The United States has been exposed for worldwide spying on allies and enemies alike. This has only further incited tensions between the U.S. and China. In retaliation China recently moved a warship into U.S. waters in Hawaii. 
Sudan has been in state of civil war since 1983 and millions have died. Millions have also been displaced. However, just to illustrate that this is another current are some numbers. In Darfur, since the year 2003, roughly 50,000-80,000 have been killed in "ethnic cleansing (aka genocide) and between 1-2 million displaced.
The conflict in Turkey, perpetuated by it's PPK (Kurdistan Worker's Party) has left as many as 870 dead since 2011.
American troops are set to withdraw from Afghanistan in 2014. The government there is in no condition to resume responsibility for its own security, as it is still plagued with corruption and factionalism. Though it is not for America to decide their fate, we are sure to hear more about this conflict in the coming days.

Since 2004 the tensions between the United States in Pakistan has boiled over. There have been as many as 339 drone attacks where over 400 civilians have died. 
I could go on and on with the Nation against Nation point but I have no desire. I'm getting disturbed just thinking about it. Besides, I am sure you can see that there is no shortage of conflicts in today's world just as Jesus said there would be before His return.

Roughly 800 million people suffer from malnutrition and hunger each year. A whopping 1.5 million children die each year from starvation (20,864 each day). That breaks my heart. The news would rather keep you distracted with celebrity garbage than to report on things like this! I just read an article 2 days ago about the poor in Haiti and how they eat mud cookies each day to stay alive. They literally mix oil with the mud and bake it into a "cookie." This is while billionaire aristocrats could easily write 1 check and resolve all of the world hunger!
In the year 2012 there were an astonishing 16,667 earthquakes worldwide which resulted in 768 deaths. In that same year there were 3836 in the United States alone!

Matthew 24:9 Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake.

Christians Persecuted
It is no secret that the world has launched an all out war on Christians and just about anything that has to do with God or Jesus! How many of you can remember a few years back when they banned stores from saying "Merry Christmas" and forced them to resort to saying "Happy Holidays?" How many can remember when prayer was taken out of schools? Now the sacred and holy institution of marriage has succumbed to the filth of the world. The world has perverted yet another of God's special covenants in order to twist and poison the truth! Oh, and I dare a Christian to proclaim that gay marriage is ungodly! You'll be crucified so quick you won't even know what happened. In fact, it is becoming more and more unacceptable for Christians to take a stand against anything that is indecent/contrary to God's word. I recently read an article where the united states army was specifically told to target Christians as a hate group and threat to national security. Now Christians are actually being labeled as terrorists! At every turn we are unwelcome, hated and killed. Jesus declared that it would be this way in the days near His return.

Matthew 24:11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
No love
Jesus pretty much summed up the whole of our modern existence with that ONE verse. It is so plainly evident that people just don't care for one another. Hearts have waxed cold and there is no love. When you can look on YouTube and see videos of a person getting hit by a vehicle, and people simply walk by the person laying there without so much as even a know we are very close to the end. What happened to the you lean on me and I lean on you thing? Those days are long gone. The government has intentionally cut off much needed supplies to families (food shortages) inciting increased fears of riots/martial law in the near future. What kind of wicked government, which has built it's empire off the blood and sweat of the people, would then turn around and destroy those same people? You got it! Yours truly, the United States government. They (FEMA) already have millions of black coffins at a site in Georgia for some upcoming disaster event. What are we not being told? Why is the department of homeland security buying billions of rounds of hollow-point ammunition? Why is the military making preparations to seize the weapons of civilians and detain the American people? 
 Every time you turn around you see stories about parents killing their children through all kinds of evil torture, and children committing unspeakable, murderous acts against their own parents. Kids are hardly able to go to school without fear of an armed maniac coming in to shoot them. Crime seems to be rising at an alarming rate according to statistics and it just seems that people are struggling more and more with making good choices. Television has become completely filled with corruption and darkness. Everything is demonic, satanic or degrading. There are no more morals. Remember you could almost never see nudity or hear cursing on TV shows? Not anymore. They don't even bother to block it out or sensor. Never before in history has evil run so rampant as today. The lack of love and constant betrayal of people by one another is testament to the fact that we are in the final days. 

The end is at hand brothers and sisters. Time is so short. Pretty soon finding work, having money, entertainment, pointless celebrity gossip and technology will be the last thing on people's minds. Soon the only thing people will care about is their own survival! When the riots begin, we will have no choice but to trust in the Lord. Please pray for me during these perilous times and I will cover you in prayer as well. 

Matthew 24:36-44 "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had know what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect."

As Always, Truth is Freedom, Knowledge is Power!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Will my life get better?

When things are not going as we want them to, this is a question we can't help but ponder. Will things ever get better? Is there any hope? As humans, self preservation is one of our most basic instincts, especially in a time of turmoil. I believe it is safe to say that the days in which we live are overwhelmingly complex. There are scores of unwarranted shootings and killings, confusion over what would seem to be basic common sense moral issues, turbulent financial markets and joblessness, global and civil unrest, and disaster at every turn. People are in a place of desperation and it is easy to see why. My friend, I am only human and must confess that I too share these feelings of uneasiness. However, I need only turn to the word of the living God for hope and answers.

So again I ask, will my life get better? Have you ever wondered when God will show up? So have I! The answer is; right on time. His timing is perfect, and rarely does his timing align with ours. Let us take a look at what God's word says about hope, safety and deliverance. 

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. -Psalm 46:1 (Nkjv)

We can be assured that in times of trouble that God is absolutely with us, strengthening us and providing a safe place for us, even in the midst of certain danger. When my heart is overwhelmed and I know I am in over my head, I turn to the Lord in prayer. Those who are burdened and weary can find rest in the Lord. We may feel alone at times, stranded in middle of a mess with no way out. Still, we are never alone because God is always with us. We don't have to be afraid. 

The LORD said, "Fear not, for I am with you ; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous hand." -Isaiah 41:10

The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them. -Psalm 34:7

As for me, I will call upon God, and the LORD shall save me. -Psalm 55:16

God is loving and merciful, but He is also just. If anything stands between you and the Lord, first repent and ask to be cleansed by the blood of Jesus, that nothing would hinder your cries from being heard. God will forgive us if we repent and ask forgiveness. In the same light, we should forgive those who wrong us and not harbor bitterness in our hearts. We would not want God to hold a grudge against us for our wrongs. When you have settled those things that stand in between you and the Lord, pray earnestly for relief from your troubles. He will deliver you, though I say again that it will be in His own timing. 

And not only in that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance  and perseverance character; and character, hope. -Romans 5:3-4

It is tempting to give up when we don't get our answer from God right away. Sometimes we may feel that He has forgotten us, or that He hasn't listened to our prayers. He has heard our cries and in time His mighty hand will move on our behalf. God may allow us to go through seasons of challenge to strengthen our faith, build our patience, and develop our testimony so that when we are delivered we can provide hope to those going through the same thing. 

But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. -Isaiah 40:31

My friend, I am not here to tell you  that everything will be lovely all the time. I wish I could promise that we would never face tribulations, trials or pain. I would love to tell you that we will always get our answers immediately, that we will never have to be patient, or that answers will always be what we want them to be. If I told you those things, I would surely be lying to you. Our walk of faith as Christians, servants of the Lord, followers and disciples of Jesus is not for the faint of heart. We are not promised easy lives. On the contrary we will definitely face attacks, dangers, persecutions, heartbreak and ridicule. Thankfully, our God will never leave us nor forsake us!

Our God is greater than the greatest mountains and obstacles we face. He is greater than our worst enemy and His wisdom far exceeds that of the people who try to belittle us. With God on our side who can stand against us? No one! So, I don't promise that this road will be easy, but if we endure...our rewards will be unimaginably great. We shall have victory in Christ!

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world. -John 16:33

As always, Truth is Freedom, Knowledge is Power!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Who is Jesus?


When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” Matthew 16:13

Jesus asked this question for a very important reason. Jesus was not uncertain of His identity or His purpose. In fact Jesus was before anything else came to be. He wanted to make certain that those following Him knew His true identity. Many rumors were rampant during the time of Christ’s earthly ministry, and much confusion was the result.
Mark 13: 5 And Jesus, answering them, began to say: “Take heed that no one deceives you. “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,” and will deceive many.

Make no mistake; Jesus wants you to know Him. He doesn't want you confused about who He is, and why a relationship with Him is critical.  In response to Jesus’ question;

Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:16

Assurance of who Jesus is does not come as a result of scholarly readings or theology classes at an accredited university. In order to know Jesus, there has to be a personal relationship. There must be a connection that transcends head knowledge and dives into
the heart.
Matthew 15:8 “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”
 I would pose the question; how can we get to know anyone without investing time with them on a consistent, personal basis? Don’t allow anyone else to define Jesus for you. Don’t allow the television or Sunday service to define Jesus for you. Get to know Him for yourself. Dive into the word of God and pray.

Many know Jesus as their savior, but few know Him as Lord. A great emphasis has been placed on Jesus as savior. This is understandable in relation to human nature, as it is a natural desire to want to be rescued. It is completely human to want to feel secure and safe. However, Jesus makes it very clear that in order to follow Him, one must totally surrender their life. This means that salvation alone is not the point. It is a selfish standpoint that proclaims, “Rescue me, save me, but I don’t have to give anything in return!” 
Looking at things in that manner makes it about us, when it should be about Christ. Living a life totally surrendered in Christ is not about what you can get from Him, but rather what you’re willing to give for Him.
Matthew 16:24 “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
Matthew 19:20-21 The young man said to him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

This is where many of us miss the point. Salvation is easy, comfortable, and requires little. A life of surrender is difficult, demanding, full of persecution, and trials all for His glory. It is easy to see why most would rather have Jesus as savior, and not as Lord.

Romans 10:9 If you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Lordship implies ownership and complete rule. This is not what you will hear at your typical Sunday morning service. It is not what you want to hear, but what you need to hear.
You are probably shocked and maybe a bit confused because this is not what you have been taught. When we really dive into the word of God for ourselves instead of sitting down and hearing someone else share with us their idea of the bible, we can really have a shot at the powerful and trans-formative truth that is God’s word.
Have you ever wondered why the world is so harsh towards Christians? Have you ever heard some one saying, “well so and so said they are a Christian, but they do things that a Christian shouldn't do.” This is because it so much easier to hear the word than to actually do. Jesus warned us about that. Likely, these are people who have “accepted” Christ as their Savior but have never made Him their Lord.Perhaps they were not actually saved but thought that they were. Maybe this is why some Christians are seen as hypocrites and not to be trusted. Much of our plight as Christians is due to bad teaching, though we are responsible for the good or bad decisions we make. It reflects back on our Lord because until He returns, the world sees Jesus through His followers on earth. If we represent Him in a way that is false, then we cant expect the world to take Christianity seriously. Instead, if we live out and do the word daily, Christ will be so visible that the world will not even see us. Salvation is also not about acceptance, but rather a declaration as shown in Romans 10:9. So they are not living a life of surrender at all. Salvation should be the beginning, not the end; the result, not the goal.

Look into your own heart and ask yourself do you really know who Jesus is? Is he simply a great moral character from fable, some man who did good deeds long ago, a savior who helped you avoid a fiery hell, or is He alive, present and active in your life each day as your Lord? Jesus may have died, but He rose again and is alive today! We serve the living God!

As Always, Truth is Freedom, Knowledge is Power!